SUPERB COMEBACK DRIVE FOR IRON LYNX YIELDS SECOND PLACE AT SPA
The fourth round of the 2023 European Le Mans Series was held at the iconic Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, a track that pushes car and driver to their limits but one which the Iron Lynx drivers were thrilled to compete at, delivering a strong result in challenging circumstances.
The #60 Iron Lynx LMGTE car lined up P11 on the grid and Claudio Schiavoni took the start, maintaining position until an initial Safety Car period. The team opted to pit under Safety Car conditions, negating the need for a further stop during Claudio’s stint.
Having briefly led the class, Claudio finally pitted from ninth with two and a half hours on the clock. Matteo Cressoni then got behind the wheel and re-emerged still in ninth, but was quickly interrupted by the appearance of a second Safety Car.
With just over two hours to go, the race restarted with Matteo facing a mammoth 40-second deficit to the eighth-place car. Setting some of the class’ fastest laps, he bridged the gap in 30 minutes, before his progress was halted by another Safety Car. Matteo ducked into the pits towards the end of that Safety Car period, handing over to Matteo Cairoli who emerged in fifth with just over an hour still to run.
Others pitted prior to the restart, elevating Matteo to second in class, providing an unexpected opportunity to challenge for victory. He immediately began pressuring the leading #16 Proton Competition car, before yet another Safety Car. A brief period of green flag running saw Matteo challenge for the lead once again before a fifth and final Safety Car of the race.
With just 10 minutes on the clock, the race was restarted before another brief pause for a Full Course Yellow. Just one lap remained under green flag conditions and Matteo did his utmost to snatch the lead from the #16, but the battle was interrupted by a faster LMP2 car at Pouhon. In the end, the Iron Lynx car crossed the line in a well-earned second position capping off a superb recovery drive by the team. An amazing team effort sees #60 move into second in the championship.
Michelin Le Mans Cup
After taking an emphatic GT3 pole position, Hiroshi Hamaguchi got the two-hour race underway in the #63 car. Unfortunately, amidst the LMP3 first corner chaos, Hiroshi lost a position to the #64 Team Parker car, dropping to second in class.
With half an hour of the race completed, the team opted for an early pitstop under the Safety Car in the hopes of gaining a strategic advantage later on. A lap later the Safety Car period ended, leaving the Iron Lynx car still in the pits, falling a lap behind. Vincent Abril got behind the wheel and displayed good pace, but another Safety Car period shortly thereafter handed the advantage to the teams who were yet to stop.
An incredible four Safety Car appearances meant little progress could be made, even with Vincent’s blistering pace. With less than half an hour left on the clock, the #63 car made its way into the pitlane and retired from the race.
This weekend has a sweet and sour taste: a perfect strategy today took us from P11 to the podium while a very chaotic race yesterday made it impossible for us to defend the lead in MLMC. A real pity as Hiroshi [Hamaguchi] did a tremendous job taking pole position and being fastest throughout the weekend.
Today in ELMS, I have to say the engineers did a perfect job. They made all the right calls and we managed to give Claudio [Schiavoni] the minimum driving time without the need for another pit stop after refuelling under the first Safety Car. No one else did it but it meant we didn’t need an extra stop. We were a lap down – albeit very briefly – so we couldn’t take advantage of the second Safety Car, but we managed to get back on the lead lap and close the gap. Matteo [Cressoni] and Matteo [Cairoli] did fantastic stints and we ended up second, so we have to be happy with the performances of the drivers and the excellent strategy calls.Iron Lynx Team Principal and CEO, Andrea Piccini